swad·​dle ˈswä-dᵊl How to pronounce swaddle (audio)
swaddled; swaddling ˈswäd-liŋ How to pronounce swaddle (audio)

transitive verb

: to wrap (an infant) with swaddling clothes
: envelop, swathe
legs swaddled in bandages
: restrain, restrict
marriage … swaddled him in a domesticity he came to loatheNina Auerbach

Examples of swaddle in a Sentence

He swaddled the baby in a blanket.
Recent Examples on the Web Do not swaddle babies who are attempting to roll over or who are able to roll over. Jessica Booth, Parents, 3 Apr. 2024 Jennifer Lawrence, who is a walking advert for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s rarefied wrong shoes, capacious totes, and swaddling cashmere (perfect for hiding from the paps in). Alice Newbold, Vogue, 27 Mar. 2024 The 7-pound baby was found swaddled under a green T-shirt inside two plastic bags. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, 24 Mar. 2024 Leaves of purple cabbage have been enlisted to swaddle mapo tofu at Poltergeist, the current culinary fascination in Los Angeles. Kim Severson, New York Times, 10 Mar. 2024 The safe, swaddling allure of quiet luxury, the sort of luxury that was as much of a local specialty as risotto alla Milanese, seems less and less consequential — a sort of relaxed, neutral approach to self-expression that no longer jibes with the increasing urgency of the world. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2024 Faux-leather vinyl upholstery wrapped around the steering wheel and seats, honeycomb floor mats, climate control by Vintage Air, and seat heaters all swaddle the interior in premium touchpoints. Michael Van Runkle, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 Aggie was bottle fed every three hours (thus the 3 a.m. feeding) and kept cozy, swaddled in blankets in a storage box near the wood stove. Rita Nader Heikenfeld, The Enquirer, 16 Mar. 2024 Rather than get political, fashion is choosing to offer succor in the form of protective garments that embrace, or even swaddle, the wearer. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 12 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swaddle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English swadelen, swathelen, probably alteration of swedelen, swethelen, from swethel swaddling band, from Old English; akin to Old English swathian to swathe

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of swaddle was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near swaddle

Cite this Entry

“Swaddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swaddle. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


swad·​dle ˈswäd-ᵊl How to pronounce swaddle (audio)
swaddled; swaddling ˈswäd-liŋ How to pronounce swaddle (audio)
: to wrap an infant with swaddling clothes

More from Merriam-Webster on swaddle

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